Moving is a challenge, especially if you have a child young enough to be in a car seat. If you rented a moving truck, you might be asking yourself, "can I put a car seat in the rental truck?" To learn more about it, check out this guide.
What Are the Car Seat Guidelines?
We recommend checking out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration car seat guidelines when considering whether or not to put a car seat in a rental truck.?
It is imperative to use a car seat on a child until the age of 12 (with a booster seat until they can fit into a seat belt). It is also recommended that children should stay in the back seat until they are 13 for safety concerns.?
The NHTSA also recommends using a rear-facing car seat for your child for as long as possible since it's the safest for them in the event of a car crash. Rear-facing seats are the best option until your child turns three or exceed the manufacturer’s recommendations.
What Are the Laws for Car Seats?
Most states do have laws that pertain to car seats. The laws range from what device the child must be in, to whether or not it has to be rear-facing. All states also require that children and babies be put in their appropriate car seat and booster seat, some even detailing for how long.
Some states even require children to be in the back seat (stating “if possible”).
Here are the states that require a child to be in the back seat:
- New Jersey
Of course, rental trucks don’t have a back seat. So, if you live in, or are moving to, one of the states listed you already can’t put your child’s car seat in your rental truck.?
Can You Put A Car Seat in A Rental Truck?
In looking over the NHTSA safety guidelines for car seats, as well as the state laws regarding car seats, rental trucks are just not the safest place for a child. There is no backseat in rental trucks, and there are also airbags in the rental truck.
Many trucks do not have the option to turn the airbags off, so if something happened that airbag will deploy and put your child in even more danger.?
While rental truck companies like Penske, Budget, U-Haul, and even Enterprise boast about having seating for three adults in some of their trucks, it is important to make a note of the wording. The seating is simply a three-person bench seat that is meant for adults only.
U-Haul even addresses this very question saying their trucks, “may not satisfy local requirements for car seats.”
So, what are some alternatives that you might have?
Alternatives for Putting A Car Seat in A Rental Truck
Since it is not recommended to put a car seat into a rental truck, what other options do you have? Let’s go over some ideas:
Use a Second Driver
If you have a second driver, then you could have one person drive the rental truck and one person drive a personal vehicle with your child and anything else needed behind the truck. While you would be spending more on gas, your child would be safer and there wouldn’t be any risks taken in the rental truck.
You could also keep your essential bags with you in your personal car, as well as the fragile items that you may not have loaded into the rental truck.
Use Professional Movers
If you have a flexible budget, you could use professional movers to move your things. This is convenient, especially for those with young children since it is one less thing on your mind.
You can either drive to your new location or (depending on how far away your new home is) you could even fly and have your vehicle shipped to your new home.
Use a Moving Container
Using a moving container like Pods or U-Box is very convenient and can save you some hassles with moving trucks. With the moving containers, you load them up yourself using however many containers you need.?
Once your belongings are all loaded, you contact your moving container company and they will load the containers up and move them to your new home. At that point, you can take your time unloading your stuff as you set up your new home.?
Again, you can drive to your new place or have your car delivered and fly there, depending on how far away you live.?
If you are not able to get a moving container or use professional movers, and if you don’t have a second driver, then you might be in a situation where you have to move yourself. Depending on your vehicle, you could rent a trailer and load your vehicle and trailer up with your possessions.
Of course, this is dependent on your vehicle, where you will be moving to, and your comfort level in driving with a trailer.
Check That Airbags Cannot Be Turned Off
According to AAA, if you truly have no other options, then you could contact your rental truck company (be it U-Haul, Budget, Penske, etc.) and see if they have a vehicle where you can turn the airbag off. If you can secure one, then you could theoretically use that truck (as long as it complies with state and local laws).?
Technically companies like U-Haul don’t have a specific policy that says children cannot ride in the passenger compartment because everyone’s situation is different.?
Keep in mind this is not recommended and can be very dangerous for your child, but if you can turn the airbag off then it could be a last resort option.
Other Helpful Tips and Tricks
We have a couple of tips that you can follow when moving with your child. Obviously, these are situational and may or may not work for you since every situation is different.
Pack A Moving Essentials Bag for Your Baby
Pack the essentials for your baby in a separate bag, like a backpack or a tote so their more important stuff can be set aside. In this bag you can include:
- Electronics for entertainment
- Diapers and diaper accessories
- Change of clothes (or two just in case)
- Coloring book with crayons and colored pencils
Unpack Your Child’s Room First
Help your child acclimate quickly and sleep well by unpacking their room first. Moving is stressful for everyone, but a happier child makes things easier.
Babyproof The House As Soon As Possible
Babyproofing your new home might seem like a pain in the neck since you’ll want to start unpacking, but this is an important thing to do.?
You’ll want to note the window treatment cords- can your child reach them and play with them? Looking around the home are the electrical sockets open and easily accessible for your child? Are you putting knives in drawers??
If any of these apply, it might be important to start babyproofing immediately. Cover up electrical sockets, put child-locks (which can sometimes be adult locks too) on drawers and cabinets where knives, cleaning products, and anything else that might be hazardous might be, and put baby gates up to limit where your child can go.
Get Some Help
If it is in your budget, then definitely hire some helpers to help your moving process along and to keep your child safe. You can keep an eye on your baby while professionals or friends and family help unload your stuff. Or get a babysitter while you unpack.
Either way, being able to make sure your baby is taken care of will be a weight off your back while making sure your move goes smoothly.